Ask yourself this: Are you looking for a topcoat for more casual wear or for evening engagements? It's a tough question, but one that Daniel Silver, half of American design label Duckie Brown, answers quickly.
"I have one coat, a classic English Crombie in black wool, that sees me through day into night," says Silver. "It's a basic three-button covered placket and stands at above the knee. Really fitted." Silver's design partner, Steven Cox, is quick to add that American men often buy a size too big. "There's nothing sexy about looking bigger than you are," he says. "You want to look your best self." Silver agrees:"It's about skimming the body."
When it comes to finding the right topcoat, it's all in the shoulders. "Make sure your shoulder is fitted to you," says Silver. "You want to feel like you're in your coat. After all, you're not going to be playing a game of touch football in it." Your coat should sit nice and tight on the shoulder, and you should be able to button it and not have it pull every which way. "It should hit you just above the knee," says Silver. "If it's too big, try the next size down. You have to go a bit out of your comfort zone. But nothing below the knee."
Both men agree that tailors and trends should be avoided. What looks of the moment is going to be old news next season, but a coat can last a decade. The more classic, the better off you are. And as one last piece of advice? "I would avoid shine," Silver laments. "People always look better in something matte than [in something] shiny."